These photos capture a world paused by coronavirus

Stuck at home from New York to Nairobi, National Geographic photographers focus on family, empty streets, and walks in the wild.

Milan, Italy

”In Italy, the situation is sad and out of control, and I’m in the epicenter of the storm, Lombardy,” says photographer Luca Locatelli. ”The most vulnerable are the elderly, like my mother, an 82-year-old stubborn, tough, and lovely Italian grandma. She can’t understand this invisible tsunami that doesn’t let anyone have contact with her. It’s sad for me to not let her see her nephews, not hug her, and to try to convince her to wear a mask. I bring her food and my camera. After 10 days, it has become our ritual and reality.”
Photograph by Luca Locatelli
A version of this story appears in the July 2020 issue of National Geographic magazine.

“Andrà tutto bene.”

Jiayou.”

“Together, apart.”

These phrases, in Italian, Mandarin, and English, respectively, roughly translate as “solidarity in solitude.” It’s as if, around the world, the creep of COVID-19 has created a universal call and response. If we can’t gather in person, we’ll join together in spirit against the shared threat of coronavirus.

From San Francisco to Milan to Tokyo and beyond, we are staying home, flattening the curve, socially distancing. That means National Geographic photographers are, as well.

What does this pandemic look like from their now geographically limited perspectives? We asked several photographers to share their thoughts on the worlds they see inside—and just outside—their windows.

Maura Friedman is an associate photo editor for National Geographic Travel. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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